Machine Baby reminds us of why horror matters…
by Marissa Pona
Horror, as a film genre, is not habitually associated with high brow filmmaking. Nor is it properly credited for its subversive attention to relevant cultural themes. In fact, the genre often goes without its due credit when it comes to creating cutting-edge art. While there are many reasons for this, the most obvious one is that so many filmmakers try, and fail, at horror. Because of this, it is even more exciting when a horror film comes along that effortlessly creates guttural horror through highly aesthetic imagery. And Machine Baby does all that and more.
This film centers around a cynical photographer who finds himself trapped by a beauty pageant manager and his newest beauty queen. It opens with a jarring opening sequence that grabs you by the throat and never lets go, not even after the credits roll. In fact, this film achieves an almost Argentoesque feel in its score and color. To describe the plot too much would only be an injustice; this film is best enjoyed without preconceptions. Especially since the story, though thought-provoking and richly developed, comes second to the beauty of the cinematography and thematic undertones.
Machine Baby is a rollercoaster of tension and terror, with an ending that leaves you reeling. The subject matter and symbolism in the film are poignant yet never moralistic, playing with everything from cultural obsessions with fame and beauty to the masculine mechanization of birthing.
All of this comes together to create a masterfully effective horror short. If Sean Richard Budde can do this much with ten minutes, I can’t wait to see what he can do with two hours.
Check out Machine Baby for yourself... click here